It happened on a Friday in November, 2009. I came home from work to find Shawn’s car in the driveway and the house unusually quiet. Our only child Shawn had died of suicide at 18 years of age. His suicide note said simply “I’m sorry”, but it is us, his parents and family who are so sorry that we could not help him find his way out of his depression. He had started his second year at University and we thought that he was doing well; attending classes, going out with his friends and working part-time. He was doing what had been recommended – taking medication and seeing a psychologist.
The grief, remorse and anger are overwhelming. Our lives have been changed forever. Incredible sadness has frozen our hearts – it is hard to feel anything else. My husband and I hide behind our masks, trying to cope with the reality of losing our child to suicide.
Our sorrow is deep within us – it is never gone but kept hidden, until a special song or a parent with their son brings it all back. While we cherish the memories, we feel cheated that this is all that we have left of our son. Regret and a deep sense of guilt are with us always.
We hope that young people who experience depression are able to talk with their family and peers without being ashamed.
We hope that there is improved understanding and support provided – within both the education and health care systems and within society as well.
We hope that Canada implements a national suicide prevention strategy based upon the work done by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.
Gerry and Monique Prendergast